Djokovic chases historic 54-year first at Wimbledon amid Kyrgios tension

Djokovic chases historic 54-year first at Wimbledon amid Kyrgios tension

The most prestigious tournament in tennis will soon return for another year, with the best tennis players in the world set to descend on the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the 136th edition of the Wimbledon Championships.

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Novak Djokovic is set to chase his 24th Grand Slam title, as well as continue on the path to becoming the first man to achieve a calendar year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, while Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina is defending her maiden title from last year.

When’s it on?

The 2023 Wimbledon Championships will start on Monday July 3, at around 8pm Australian time, and run until the men’s final late on Sunday night, July 16.

Play will likely start in the early rounds from 8pm AEST.

The Ladies Final will take place late on Saturday night July 15.

How to watch

The 2023 Wimbledon Championship will be available to watch via Stan Sport. It requires users to have a Stan account, which comes in $10, $16 and $21 options, and then pay for the $15 add-on to get access to the sport package, which will give access to every game of the championship.

There will also be a selection of matches played free on 9Now as well as broadcasting on free-to-air channel 9Gem.

Aussies in action

The Australians are thin on the ground at the All-England Club this year, with Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios the only seeded men from down under.

De Minaur will be seeded 15th, while Kyrgios sneaks in despite an ATP ranking of 33, courtesy of the withdrawals of Russian Karen Khachanov and Spanish Pablo Carreno Busta.

Despite this, there are still questions over Kyrgios’ fitness, with last year’s finalist having only played one Tour match all year, a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Chinese world No. 59 Yibing Wu in the opening round in Stuttgart earlier this month.

In the women’s, with world No. 59 Ajla Tomljanovic withdrawing as she recovers from knee surgery earlier this year, only Daria Saville will enter the main draw under a special ranking.

However, outside of Tomljanovic, currently no other Aussies are inside the world’s top 100 on the WTA tour.

The entry list rankings are based solely on world rankings for the third time, after the abolition of Wimbledon’s previous computer-based formula that gave an advantage to players who had traditionally done well at SW19 and on grass.

Men’s main draw: Alex de Minaur (World No. 16), Nick Kyrgios (No. 33), Max Purcell (No. 62), Christopher O’Connell (No. 70), Jordan Thompson (No. 71), Jason Kubler (No. 74), Aleksandar Vukic (No. 91), Alexei Popyrin (No. 92),

Men’s qualifying: Thanasi Kokkinakis (No. 89), James Duckworth (No. 109), Rinky Hijikata (No. 113), Marc Polmans (No. 175), Alex Bolt (No. 342).

Women: Daria Saville (No. 54 — Special Ranking).

Note: World No. 58 Ajla Tomljanovic has already withdrawn from the event due to a knee injury.

Women’s qualifying: Kim Birrell (World No. 116), Jaimee Fourlis (No. 169), Priscila Hon (No. 179), Olivia Gadecki (No. 136), Storm Hunter (No. 162), Arina Rodionova (No. 230)

The men’s and women’s main draws for Wimbledon will take place on Friday June 30.

Who are the defending champions?

Novak Djokovic will be on the hunt for an eighth Wimbledon title, including a fifth straight and seventh in nine events.

Last year, he defeated Aussie Nick Kyrgios 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 to seal his title.

He has since gone on to be the winningest male grand slam champion in history with his French Open triumph his 23rd title.

The reigning ladies champion is Russian-born Kazakhstani Elena Rybakina.

Rybakina became the first Kazakhstani to win a grand slam when she defeated Ons Jabeur 3-6 6-2 6-2 in last year’s final.

It was a controversial victory as Russian and Belarusian players had been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine, leading the WTA and ATP tours to strip ranking points from the Championships.

But Rybakina has continued her strong form, making the Australian Open final earlier this year as she rose to No. 3 in the world.

Players to watch

Carlos Alcaraz is set to chase his first major title on grass, having never gone past the fourth round at the All-England Club before.

Alcaraz comes into the tournament as the top seed after winning his first ATP title on grass at the Queen’s Club last week.

Novak Djokovic is the reigning champion and will be chasing a calendar Grand Slam after titles in Melbourne and Paris earlier in the year.

In the women’s competition, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka returns after an enforced absence, having won her first Slam in Melbourne in January.

Tunisia’s world No. 6 Ons Jabeur comes in having won grass titles in Birmingham and Berlin, and was runner-up last year.

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